Kalsubai | Kulang | Mandan | Alang | Ratangad | Amruteshwar.
On our way cycling to Yeur, a friend told me about this trek to Sahyadris. I was excited but skeptical of my parents allowing me to go for the trek. Against all odds, I got a “Yes”.
We went to Kasara on 24th Dec 2013, midnight. Took a cab (okay let’s say it was a cab) to Igatpuri and reached Bari village by 4am. We had Chai and Poha, and waited for sunrise.
This is the house, at Bari village, where all of us, strangers if I must say, met for the first time. Little did we know about the bonds that we were going to make in next few days!
Sir, or Vitthal Kaka as we call him, will tell us, everyday, about activity of that day – what fort are we going to see, which route are we going to take and what should be out approximate timing.
We started climbing Kalsubai Peak, the highest peak (1646 meters) in the Sahyadri Range.
This was out first halt, at a Hanuman temple, while climbing Kalsubai.
Rahul Daa sang folk songs for us at almost every halt. Boy is he blessed with an amazing voice! All the weariness, owing to the climbing and trekking, would just vanish listening to those songs. Poetry to ears!
This is the Kalsubai temple, at the peak. During the Navratri period, for all nine days, special poojas are carried out and idol is fully decorated. Special Mela (fair) is organized for Navratri.
It took us almost 4 hours to climb Kalsubai Peak. We climbed down the peak and came to Ambewadi, with lungs full of unadulterated air, and mind, which was in the real sense of the word, blown!
I had dinner and went to the roof-top of that brick-walled house. I could see stars. I don’t remember the last time when I lay down on floor and looked at stars, shining bright, like diamonds in the sky.
This was day one.
Next day, all of us woke up fresh! Packed our rucksacks, and had Chai and Poha. Mornings were awesome. Bah! Whole days were awesome!
Hearing those orders from Kaka, well more of encouraging words and hardly any orders, we started from Ambewadi to climb Kulang. Climbing Kulang on the second day was a bit easier for me, maybe because by now I was comfortable carrying the rucksack while climbing.
I was so comfortable carrying the rucksack by now that I did not mind buckling up those extra ropes, you see that smile!
This is the entrance to Kulang Gad.
This is the place where we took a bath, at Kulang. Believe you me, if you haven’t had such a bath, you don’t know what a bath is!
Okay, you don’t agree? Have a look at this! 😀
Okay, so after the HIM SAHYADRI TREKKERS authorities see this picture, I will be officially banned from attending any more treks.
But now do you agree? Good.
Later that evening we were enjoying the sunset at Kulang. Talking, playing, laughing.
People, watch the sun, set! What colors!
We spent the night at a cave.
This was day 2.
We started the third day with the first ray of light.
Bye bye Kulang! We started off to Mandan and Alang Gad.
We were running late by almost two hours. But, who cares when you are having the time of your life!
We reached a place from where Alang Gad was just 50 meters. But for that we had to cover 2 patches of rock climbing. First patch was almost 20 meters. We (25 of us) did that in an hour, but it was 6:30pm already. Covering one more patch (bigger than the last one) before the sun sets seemed difficult. We decided to stay in a cave and take another route the next day.
These were the eyes which made me compose Behne Do in that cave at Sahyadris.
And, I started!
The day ended playing Antakshari in cave! Yo! 😀
We started the next day taking a different route to Alang Gad.
Thing I learned.
You can sit on the rocks and climb down, but, don’t do that. Trust your legs and your balance. Initially it will seem difficult, but you will develop that confidence. You will learn how to walk on mountains.
Yea, big surprise, we all are posers.
This was at the base of Alang Gad.
Top of Alang Gad is a plateau with a bastion and a few water tanks.
Alang Gad. Check!
We headed to Samrad village that evening.
The day ended.
Mornings are awesome in villages.
You cannot balance a single book on your head and walk properly, and look at these girls. She said she walks 10kms one way, everyday, for this much water. Stop cribbing that you have a tough life.
She was so engrossed in drawing that she did not care to pose for the Shehri Babu with a camera. She was happy coloring that Rangoli with her sketch-pen.
And we taught Jay Veeru to Yo! 😀
After all this, we started marching to Ratangad.
And this time, we were not alone!
As per the tradition, we were given all the instructions. At the back of our mind, all of us knew this was the last day. Mixed feelings!
Sandesh went all like “Meri nazar tum dekho toh yaar nazar aayee..” 😛
This was the entrance of Ratangad.
It has a natural rock peak with a cavity in it at the top which is called ‘Nedhe’ or ‘Eye of the Needle’. The fort has four gates Ganesh, Hanuman, Konkan and Trimbak. The base village Ratanwadi has an Amruteshwar temple which is famous for its carvings. The fort is origin for the river Pravara/Amrutvahini.
View from Ratangad.
Ban Sulaka, the toughest rock to climb at Sahyadris.
“SuperCop” Sunil Kadam turned into “The Enlightened One” at Ratangad! 😀
On the foothills of Ratangad, is Amruteshwar temple.
After all of that, we came back to Samrad village, had lunch and left for Mumbai.
5 days of awesomeness ended. “Strangers” turned into bunch of buddies. A trek, my first trek, was amazing.
A lot of treks lined up now. 😉